‘Hard Pressed Cider Fest’ announced at Chamber of Commerce event

Pressing news emerged from the annual Chamber of Commerce annual Membership event Monday.

Literally pressing.

The chamber will stage a new event in April: a cider festival to promote the burgeoning local industry that turns local fruit into a lightly alcoholic carbonated beverage.

Executive Director Mike Glover announced the festival in the Membership Appreciation event at Columbia Gorge Hotel.

“We’re calling it the Hard-Pressed Cider Fest,” Glover said. It is scheduled for the third weekend of Blossom Festival, April 25-27.

The valley includes at least four commercial cider producers, and there are two more in Mosier.

Bob Fox, 2013 Chamber board president and owner of Fox-Tail Cider in Odell, said the event will involve as many as 15 cider makers from the mid-Columbia, with room to grow.

“We’re putting this together in a short amount of time, so we’ll start small and see how it goes,” Fox said.

The cider festival, the first of its kind in the Gorge, will be held at a location to be decided in the mid-valley. Glover said it will give the chamber an event during the Hood River-based Blossom Festival to help draw visitors to the upper valley.

Also on Friday, Glover handed out the three 2013 Chamber awards: the Don Benton Community Service Award to Ray Perkins, Business of the Year to Hood River Supply, and Member of the Year to Chris Strader.

Glover said Strader, a past Chamber president and longtime Ambassador, had been a major support to him in his first full year as executive director.

“Our chamber is filled with so many great people,” said Strader, who owns Hood River Jewelers with his wife, Julie.

Strader can be seen each morning sweeping the sidewalk in front of their Oak Street shop. He described himself as not an outgoing person. “But the chamber is a great way to meet people, and when I put on the purple Ambassador vest, it’s really fun to meet people. The purple vest helps me fit in.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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